MORF, Columbia Yacht Club, and Starting Area 7

13:00 4/25/2017

Dear MORF member,

On Wednesday April 13, 2017, the MORF Board invited Michael Hettel, ColYC Director of Racing, and CASRA president, to our board meeting to discuss the participation of MORF in some of the ColYC racing and SA7 issues. Mike told us that ColYC does not want MORF using the SA7 circle during the Colors and Columbia Cup regattas. This action appears to contradict the longstanding gentlemens agreement between MORF and Columbia dating back to the early 2000s. His explanation was that LMSRF, who a decade ago allocated SA7 to MORF and SA4 to COlYC, is irrelevant as are their allocations of starting areas, and that the marks belong to ColYC. Given the passage of time (and lack of any paper trail), research into the history of what happened between MORF, LMSRF, LMYA and Columbia is ongoing.

In the meantime, the MORF board has drafted, signed and forwarded to ColYC a written agreement (below) between the two clubs to formalize this relationship. Discussion of this issue is welcome at the upcoming Spring meeting on Saturday 4/29 at BPYC.

Peter Cooper
MORF Secretary

April 25, 2017 Mr. Michael Hettel, Director of Racing, Columbia Yacht Club

Dear Michael:

For the past 15 years, the Midwest Open Racing Fleet (MORF) and Columbia Yacht Club (ColYC) have shared the SA7 racing circle with ColYC using it for its Wednesday Night Beer Race Series, and MORF using it on weekends for our buoy racing program. Although no written agreements were made, based on discussions with past MORF Commodores, Charley Smart (2000), Loren Thompson(2003), Bob Alexis(2005), Tom Barnes(2010 and ColYC), this arrangement originated as a gentlemans agreement between the above mentioned MORF Commodores and ColYC. From what we have learned from our past Commodores, the understanding began with the reorganization of the racing marks on the Chicago lake front by LMYA/LMSRF, circa 2002, leading to the present starting areas, including SA4, which was assigned to Columbia, and SA7 which was assigned to MORF. MORF built some additional marks to fill out the nine required for a circle and the gentlemen above agreed (along with members of ColYC) that ColYC and MORF would share the use of SA7 with ColYC using it for the Beer race series on Wednesday evenings and MORF using it on the weekends. We understand that over time Columbia has replaced some SA7 marks. At the time the original circle was constructed, based on discussion with the above individuals, it was further agreed that the two clubs would share the costs of maintaining the racing marks including placement and removal of the marks and storage over the winter. Over the course of time, while ColYC and MORF still shared the costs, this evolved into ColYC maintaining, storing, installing, and removing the marks and MORF writing a check to ColYC to cover its share of the expenses.

Since the time of this informal agreement, MORF has paid ColYC annually for the marks and exclusively used the marks on weekends for at least the last decade. MORF races are held from the middle weekend in May through the end of September. In the interest of fostering cooperation between MORF and ColYC, MORF and Columbia have agreed that MORF will not use the SA7 circle on the weekends of the ColYC?s Colors and Columbia Cup regattas. That being said, we feel that it is in the best interest of both clubs to prepare a more formal agreement regarding the use of the marks. As such, we have prepared an agreement (attached) which we believe will be mutually beneficial to both clubs, and ask that you review it. If you find it acceptable, please have it signed by the appropriate ColYC official and return to us. If there are questions or comments, please let us know. We are excited about the upcoming season and look forward to MORF participation in the Colors and Columbia Cup Regattas. In addition, we are eager to continue collaboration in the future when it can be mutually beneficial to our organizations and the advancement of sailing in general.

Sincerely, The MORF Board


This agreement is made by and between Columbia Yacht Club (ColYC) and Midwest Open Racing Fleet (MORF) for the purpose of scheduling the use of the race marks located around SA7 approximately three miles southeast of the Monroe Harbor entrance in Chicago.

Summary: ColYC has used the marks exclusively for Wednesday night Beer Can racing for at least the last decade. Beer Can racing takes place Wednesday evenings from the middle of May through the end of September. MORF has used the marks exclusively for weekend racing during the same timeframe. MORF?s weekend racing program takes place each weekend through the summer from the middle of May through the end of September.

ColYC has requested to use the SA7 racing area for its two premier regattas, the Colors and Columbia Cup, which will occur on two separate weekends during the summer in an attempt to build a quality sailing regatta. MORF has agreed with this arrangement. MORF would like to ensure that in so doing, they have not set precedent whereby ColYC can refuse MORF?s use of the SA7 circle on subsequent weekends in the future. ColYC race management has indicated that Columbia remains in favor of supporting MORF?s use of the marks on dates that do not conflict with the Colors and Columbia Cup.

In light of the forgoing, and to clarify each parties understanding, the parties would like to agree to the following:

1) ColYC will use the SA7 marks for Wednesday night Beer Can racing and the two weekends of the Colors and Columbia Cup Regattas,

2) MORF will use the SA7 marks the remaining weekend days and occasional weekend evenings of the summer,

3) The costs associated with maintaining the circle will be shared by the two clubs, and the fee shall be mutually agreed upon each year for the term of the agreement, with the fee remaining at $1400 per year for the next two years, but shall not exceed half the total cost of annual maintenance,

4) ColYC will continue to provide the maintenance, installation and storage of the marks,

5) Any other changes to the SA7 scheduling must be mutually agreed to by the parties,

6) This agreement will automatically renew every year unless terminated in accordance with #7 below. The anniversary date shall be the day and month indicated below.

7) This agreement can also be terminated by either party, but not less than 180 days prior to the anniversary contract date. The parties by signature below agree to the terms of this Agreement on this _______ day of ________, 2017.

Midwest Open Racing Fleet Columbia Yacht Club By:___________________ By:______________________ Title: _________________ Title:_____________________